Wednesday, April 01, 2009

I Believe It Does "Call Into Question What Our Troops Are Doing"

It really is the fundamental philosophical underpinning, to justify our presence in Afghanistan. Actually, it's quite hard to find any defence of the mission that invariably doesn't move to a discussion of women's rights, girls in schools. Women's rights are essentially the signature rationalization for a continued presence, and I confess part of my logic to defend why we went to Afghanistan in the first place. Despite the death toll, all the hardships, this issue was somewhat of a counter balance, no matter your view it spoke to the complexity at hand.

I'll defer to this question by NDP MP Dawn Black, because it sums it up nicely:
"The government has said over and over again that the underpinning of this mission was to defend women's rights and to provide education for girls," Black said. "Mr. Speaker, after all the sacrifices, after all that Canadian families have put on the line, could this really end up being what we're fighting for in Afghanistan?"

What we are seeing now is so offensive, it really deserves a total re-think of this mission. Never mind 2011, what's the point in 2009, if this is where Afghanistan is headed? State sanctioned rape, with a dash of legislated slavery is the antithesis of everything we supposedly "fight" for, our moral impetus. I understand that everyone is outraged, and I have little doubt the enormous pressure put on the Karzai government will eventually bring a retreat, but the mere contemplation is enough to consider that continuation is futile.

Ignatieff responded with scorn, but my quibble is this assertion:
"I don’t think it calls into question what our troops are doing."

To be fair, I understand that statement, and it's important to separate this issue from the larger point. However, I actually do think this sort of development completely and utterly undermines one of the last remaining justifications for "what our troops are doing". In fact, it would appear that Afghanistan is slowly heading back to some sort of Taliban rule, that drift will erode all the supposed "gains" our presence has brought.

Nobody, particularly a public figure, wants to entertain the notion that people have died in vain, and the reasons for that lack of sober recognition are obvious. That said, it is becoming crystal clear, over these weeks and months, that our soldiers are pretty much spinning their wheels in their own blood, while the "enemy" concurrently tightens it's grip and gains measures of legitimacy. What's the point? What exactly are we doing, and is misguided patriotism clouding some hard realities?

6 comments:

penlan said...

"In fact, it would appear that Afghanistan is slowly heading back to some sort of Taliban rule, that drift will erode all the supposed "gains" our presence has brought."

That is EXACTLY where it's headed to. There has already been a lot of talk from the U.S. end of things to start negotiating with Taliban, the "less militant" of them, & get them, possibly, into govt. Making deals with them, etc. Just like was done with the different tribal/faction leaders in Iraq because it worked so well. So there you have it.

Steve V said...

That's what I meant by measures of legitimacy, because the Americans are clearly headed towards negotiating with the Taliban, as an eventually out strategy.

The Mound of Sound said...

The difference between a Taliban warlord and any other Afghan warlord? The Taliban kill Afghans who bugger little boys.

We've been pissing up a giant, endless rope since 2003 when we (i.e. America) didn't have the cojones to dismantle the warlord infrastructure that dooms Afghanistan to Dark Age feudalism.

JimBobby said...

Whooee! Yeah, it didn't hit home a few years ago when an Afghan convert to Christianity was sentenced to death under the new constitution of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.

Then, it didn't hit home again when an Afghan student was sentenced to death for bringing up the issue of women's rights in a university classroom setting.

It never hit home when we were confronted with strong evidence that Canada's policy of turning over detainees to Afghan authorities was resulting in the torture of those detainees.

Now, after we acquiesced to those previous injustices, who could not see even greater injustice coming down the road?

Karzai has been negotiating with the Taliban for several years. He's admitted/confirmed this in the Afghan parliament.

How much longer will we be required to send our brave troops to die for warlords, drug dealers and human rights abusers?

How many more billions will we spend on schools that will be destroyed by Karzai's secret pals, the Taliban?

Sometimes, the best course is to cut your losses. We must withdraw from Afghanistan before we lose one more Canadian life defending the indefensible.

We made our bed. We got into that bed with the warlords, religious extremists, human rights abusers and opium merchants.

Lie down with dogs, wake up with fleas.

Time to wake up and take a strong flea bath.

JB

Miles Lunn said...

I agree this is serious stuff. I would also argue we went to Afghanistan to find Osama Bin Ladin and the other terrorists, something we haven't, although might have been done if the US stayed in Afghanistan rather than went into Iraq. I do agree Karzai will retract still this is pretty serious. The other problem here I think is he is facing elections and he wants to appeal to the hardline elements, but this still seems puzzling since as agressive and noisy as the hardline elements are, they are very much in the minority in public opinion in Afghanistan.

The Mound of Sound said...

Miles you sound as though you believe there's a functioning democracy in Afghanistan in which the "majority" can overrule the warlords. A vote is like the click of a switch. Do you really believe that?

We have succeeded, for eight long years, in keeping the civil war on hold. That's it. The insurgency has morphed. There's more than one operating now and all of them have more than one key player. The old days of a Taliban insurgency are over. It's even alive and well among the nationalist students at the university in Kabul.

When you've got loose cards like Hekmatyar and Dostum running around in search of the best deal, you're up to your alligators in troubles. This place defines duplicity and bottom dealing. Find one warlord who hasn't, at various times, been allied with and at war with every other warlord. Talk about herding cats.